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Why do boys stop reading?

Boys experience a significant drop in reading for pleasure from the ages of eight to 16, according to a survey by the National Literacy Trust.

When the boys in the study were asked about their reading habits, 72 percent of eight to 11 year olds said they enjoy reading, but that figure fell to 36 percent for 14 to 16 year olds.

“Young people's love of reading steadily declines from the day they leave primary school to the day they leave secondary school – particularly when it comes to boys,” said Director of the NLT, Jonathan Douglas on the BBC News website. “This is a trend we must reverse.”

In response, ARB Books have collated a pack of 158 books, all quizzed for Accelerated Reader and aimed at encouraging boys in Years 7 and 8 to enjoy books.

Girls fared better in the study, with 83 percent of eight to 11 year olds saying they enjoyed reading, but this figure also fell to 53 percent in the 14 to 16 age group.

Mr Douglas believes that parents and teachers can encourage boys to read more by responding to their hobbies. “For starters, you can motivate boys to read by tapping in to their interests, such as football, comedy and gaming, and letting them choose what they want to read. Remember that everything counts, whether they want to read a fictional story, newspaper, magazine or comic.”

While there is more that can be done, especially for boys, the survey has optimistic results because it records an overall increase in the numbers of children reading for pleasure.

The NLT surveyed 41,334 children in 2016 and the charity found that 57 percent of eight to 16 year olds enjoyed reading either very much or quite a lot.

The report said: “While enjoyment levels had been rather stable between 2005 and 2012, they have been rising steadily since 2013, and in 2016 we recorded the highest percentage of reading enjoyment levels.”

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